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Thread: Question on minimum speed

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Central Florida

    Question on minimum speed

    Question for the experienced turners... How important is a low minimum speed? I plan to turn some bowls (among other things) as large as the machine will handle. I am currently looking at the Jet 1442VSK. It fits my budget and other specifications except for minimum speed. 450 rpm seems high for trying to turn an unbalanced blank. Is my concern misplaced?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    No, your concern is well-founded. Speeds slower than 450 rpm are very useful not only for rough-turning out of balance things, but for sanding. (I often power sand with the lathe running between 50 and 100 rpm.) If there's any way to fit it in the budget, I'd highly recommend getting a lathe with electronic variable speed. The extra cost may sting a little at first, but you'll smile every time you reach for that speed knob. If that's just simply not possible, I'd recommend something like the Nova 1624-44, which at least goes down to 215 rpm. (Still a bit too fast IMO, but better than 450 rpm.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Also a big fan of variable speed and low speed. I don't often turn much that's all that aggressive, but the ability to spin it up slow and then back off quick if get any wiggle sure is sweet.

    Disclaimer: I have used neither of these so just tossing them up for comparison...

    The other two lathes in the same ~ballpark price range/capabilities with variable speed that I know of are:

    Rikon 16" X 42" Heavy Duty Lathe, Model 70-300
    grizzly G0632 16" x 42" Variable Speed Wood Lathe

    I "know" (vicariously through various online forums like this) a couple of people who have the Griz and say its pretty good except for some minor fit & finish issues in a couple of cases (the one case I'm thinking of there were some sharp edges left on the ways).

    They're both basically Jet 1642 clones for the most part. Grizzly has an 18/47 for a couple hundred more which would be tempting to pinch into the penny jar to upgrade comparing the two.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    Don't know where you are, David, but check the classifieds here.

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Yorktown, Virginia
    Low speed is very important, as Vaughn and Ryan have said. If you expect to do much turning at all, you will want the ability to power sand at low speeds and those large unbalanced blanks will do crazy dangerous things at 450rpm. I can't recommend another lathe, but can tell you the one you are looking at is not for you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
    While I turn on a Jet1442 and turn bowls up to 13+ inches, I do agree with Vaughn... a slower speed is much better if your blanks are out of balance.... a few months back I had a blank I thought was better balanced than it was. when I put it on the lathe and turned it on, even at 450 rpms, the lathe moved 6 inches before I could reach the off switch...and my lathe has a box across the bottom with 160 lbs of sand, plus a cabinet on top of the box that holds all my tools etc... if you make sure the blanks are pretty well balanced, you can start at 450, just be careful and play safe.
    Tellico Plains, TN
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Goodland, Kansas
    I agree with the low speed. I turn a lot of big out of balance pieces and generally start at 100 rpm and work my way up as it becomes more balanced. I use a Nova DVR XP and has 280 lbs of sand for ballast. I would think a Jet 1642, Nova 1624-44 or a Nova DVR would do everything you need if you are wanting to do large pieces.. My brother turns on a 1624-44 and he gets along fine with big pieces.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Nothing to add except to ditto the others on the importance of a low speed. Not just turning but sanding.
    My Griz 0632 will go down to about 200-210. Specs say zero to 'gee-whiz'. But, really between zero and 210 it is still zero.
    I was at a friends shop once and experienced a case of high speed out of balance. He is a professional turner, quite expert. His lathe is the Jet 1642. He put on a hunk of wood badly out of balance, very unusual for him. The lathe was on a high speed. When he turned it on I thought we both were going to be chewing cast iron. Wild to say the least. Thank goodness for the big red emergency cut-off button.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    DSM, IA
    David, I turn on a similar lathe, grizzly G0462. It works great, but turning out of balance blanks or sanding at low speeds just can't be done. If you can swing a bit more $$ go for variable speed. I got the Griz from my dad when he upgraded to a Jet 1642 and he couldn't be happier. If you live anywhere near Carol...she has a nice one for sale!!
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Central Florida
    Thanks for the input. Guess I really knew the answer when I asked. I'll just have to pony up some more bucks. Carol, I'd love to deal with you but I am in central Florida. It would be a bit of a stretch.

    Again, thanks for the answers. Hope y'all have patience. I'm probably going to have a lot more questions along the way.

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